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A warm welcome to the website of ICL 20, the 20th International Congress of Linguists. The congress is to be held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre between the 2nd to the 6th of July 2018. The hosts are CIPL (Comité International Permanent des Linguistes), the LSSA (Linguistics Society of Southern Africa) and UCT (the University of Cape Town). Our partner organisations are given below. Please follow the links to find out more about these dynamic organisations.

The Congress is held every five years, and is meant to showcase current developments in Linguistics. The Congress will run over five days, have a plenary panel on linguistics in South Africa, nine plenary speakers covering a range of major sub-fields, 10 paper sessions each with its own focus speaker, up to 30 workshops, and several poster sessions. While speakers and topics are drawn from a wide international pool, ICL 20 will take the additional opportunity of showcasing African language research. It will also cover applied linguistic areas of research of vital importance to the African continent and the 21st century at large, with a special extended session on Multilingualism, Education, Policy and Development.

Please take a look at the pages on our Scientific Committee, our invited plenary speakers, session topics and call for workshop proposals and abstracts. If you haven’t visited Cape Town before, please also have a look at some of the images of a beautiful and diverse city. We look forward to welcoming you at the tip of Africa in July 2018.

Prof. Rajend Mesthrie

President ICL 20.
June 2016.

In conjunction with Prof. D. Bradley. President CIPL

Hosts & Supporting/Partner Associations


Comité International Permanent des Linguistes / Permanent International Committee of Linguists

Linguistics Society of Southern Africa

Southern African Applied Linguistics Association

uct logo
University of Cape Town
African Language Association of Southern Africa

South African Association for ​Language Teaching


Registration NOW OPEN!
27 June 2018 Online Registration Closes


Water situation in Cape Town
Download Info


2 - 6 July 2018


Professor Rickford
Stanford University

Professor Rickford received his B.A. (1971) with highest honors in Sociolinguistics from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and his M.A. (1973) and Ph.D. (1979) in Linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania.  After teaching at the University of Guyana from 1974-80, he joined the Stanford faculty in 1980.  Among other things, he has been president of the International Society for Pidgin Creole Linguistics, President of the Linguistic Society of America, and the chair of the Stanford Faculty Senate.  In 2017 he was elected to Membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Professor Rickford won a Dean's Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1984 and a Bing Fellowship for Excellence in Teaching in 1992. He is also the recipient of the American Book Award (2000), the Linguistics Society of America's Language and the Public Interest Award, and the Anthropology Association of America's Anthropology and the Media Award (2002). He is the author of numerous scholarly articles, including publications in Discover, Language, Language in Society, Language Variation and Change, Journal of Sociolinguistics, Language and Communication, American Speech, and the Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages.  He also contributed "Living Language Notes" and wrote an introductory essay for the 4th edition of The American Heritage Dictionary (2000). His co-authored paper, “Language and Linguistics on Trial:  Hearing Rachel Jeantel (and other Vernacular Speakers) in the Courtroom and Beyond” won “Best Paper in Language” in 2016.  His books include A Festival of Guyanese Words (ed., 1978), Dimensions of a Creole Continuum (1987), Analyzing Variation in Language (co-ed., 1987), Sociolinguistics and Pidgin-Creole Studies (ed.,1988), African American English (co-ed, 1998), African American Vernacular English (1999), Creole Genesis, Attitudes and Discourse (co-ed., 1999), Spoken Soul (co-authored with his son Russell, 2000), Style and Sociolinguistic Variation, (co-ed, 2001), Language in the USA:  Themes for the 21st Century (co-ed., 2004), Language, Culture and Caribbean Identity (co-ed., 2012), African American, Creoles and Other English Vernaculars in Education (co-ed, 2013), Languages in Contact (co-ed., 2014) and Raciolinguistics (co-ed., 2017).  In 2018 Cambridge University Press will publish a book of his papers, entitled Variation, Versatility and Change in Sociolinguistics and Creole Studies.

Professor Rickford is married to Angela Rickford, Associate Professor of Education at San Jose State University.  They have four children:  Shiyama, Russell, Anakela, and Luke. For further information, see

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